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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 Mar;63(6):672-85.

Nodal signals pattern vertebrate embryos.

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  • 1Laboratory of Developmental Biology, State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology, Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.


Vertebrate embryonic patterning requires several conserved inductive signals-including Nodal, Bmp, Wnt and Fgf signals. Nodal, which is a member of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) superfamily, activates a signal transduction pathway that is similar to that of other TGFbeta members. Nodal genes, which have been identified in numerous vertebrate species, are expressed in specific cell types and tissues during embryonic development. Nodal signal transduction has been shown to play a pivotal role in inducing and patterning mesoderm and endoderm, and in regulating neurogenesis and left-right axis asymmetry. Antagonists, which act at different steps in the Nodal signal transduction pathway, have been shown to tightly modulate the inductive activity of Nodal.

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